When it comes to doubt, trials, and temptation, what we need is wisdom. In today’s text, James gives us godly advice concerning this matter…
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way,the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So, don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. James 1:5-16 (NLT)
In the above text, James identifies who is to blame when we are tempted. First, he explains that it certainly isn’t God. God never tempts anyone and is never tempted by anything. Second, notice that James doesn’t blame the devil. Too many people blame all their problems on either God or the devil. But James reveals that we are our own worst enemy. As the old saying goes, “Lead me not into temptation, I can find it myself.” A good student of scripture will never say, “The devil made me do it.” Instead, an honest and knowledgeable Christian, when he or she sins, will readily admit fault and shoulder all responsibility.
Another important truth revealed in today’s text is the deadly effect of sin. Sin works death. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:26a). Andwhen a Christian sins, he or she is bringing forth a type of death to their intimacy and fellowship with God. Christians often believe the lie that it doesn’t matter if we sin. After all, God loves me. I’m saved and nothing can damage my relationship with God. And that is why today’s text ends with the exhortation, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (V:16)
Read today’s text carefully and heed the advice of our elder brother James.